Currently viewing the category: "Caterpillars and Pupa"

digger wasp?
April 19, 2010
i am pretty sure this is a digger wasp, but was wondering if you could tell me what kind. would be really cool if you could also tell me what kind of caterpillar it is, but not sure this picture would help as much with that. the picture was taken in the antelope valley, near lancaster, california
antelope valley california poppy reserve

Cutworm Wasp

Dear naaman,
We believe we have correctly identified your Thread Waisted Wasp as a Cutworm Wasp in the genus Podalonia based on photos posted to BugGuide and your documentation of the wasp about to bury a Cutworm Caterpillar.  According to BugGuide they are:  “Parasitoids of Noctuidae (cutworm) caterpillars. Excavate nest after finding prey, reversal of the order for most sphecids. One caterpillar is placed in each cell. P. luctuosa has two flights per year in Michigan. Second brood overwinters in burrows, sometimes with others of the species. Other species have one generation per year.
”  BugGuide does not indicate how to identify species within the genus.

Correction thanks to Eric Eaton
May 7, 2010
I’m quite certain the “cutworm wasp” posted on April 19 is actually a species of Ammophila rather than Podalonia.  Tough to call from that angle, but I don’t know any Podalonia that resemble this wasp.

ID request for a suspicious caterpillar.
April 18, 2010
Dear Madam/ Sir, good day.
I live in a Kibbutz in the Arava desert in southern Israel, and we have a minor infestation of quite large caterpillars.
Since they crawl everywhere, including the kindergarten yards, and there are unfounded rumors regarding their toxicity and possibly their being hosts for wasps (of that kind this area is known), I wanted to try to identify them.
I believe to have identified them as- Sphingidae, Hyles livornica. I don’t believe this species to be dangerous, and don’t know if it’s a wasps’ host.
Location: Hot and dry desert (56º 29′ Long. 57 º 34′ Lat., 15-35 Centigrade, Approx. 30% Humidity.)
Size: 7-8 Cm. long, about 6-7Mm thick.
Characteristics: One ‘horn’ at lower quarters, usually black tipped. No ‘Hair’, with barely visible mandibles.
Nutrition: Seems to be feeding off a single desert plant, which has sprouted abundantly in dry creek beds due to extremely unusual rainy season. (Four days of rain and several flash floods).
Behaviour: Seems to feel at ease either on its plant or on sand and hot asphalt road. They are seen to be crawling at all times of day and night.
Defense mechanism: When attacked by insects such as ants the shake their upper or entire body violently. When touched or attacked by larger animals or people they excrete a greenish sticky liquid. Small dogs and cats bite at them but don’t eat them, and do not seem to be affected.
Please assist me to calm things here- or to issue a ‘remove on sight’ warning…
Attached are photos of the caterpillars and they plant.
Many thanks in advance, Itai Bawnik.
56º 29′ Long. 57 º 34′ Lat

Striped Hawkmoth Caterpillars

Read Full Article →

Horned Spanworm
April 18, 2010
Thanks for all the help you’ve given me! But here’s one I found myself that I’d like to share: a horned spanworm (OK, I’m pretty sure that’s what it is). I found it lurking on a maple seedling, and from what I’ve read, was probably responsible for the chew marks on several of the maple leaves (primary habitat is deciduous and coniferous trees). It is interesting to note that between the first picture and the latter pictures, the ‘tentacles’ continued extending (must be camera shy). I found the textured orange patch on his upper back very interesting; I saw it on few of the other photos I viewed. Also, it was very reluctant to uncurl.
Karen H.
Belleview, FL

Horned Spanworm

Read Full Article →

Sphingid Larva
April 9, 2010
Picture taken last summer in our yard in Tucson, Arizona. I remember looking it up and found it once, but lost the ID. I think it fed on ironwood. Found a couple specimens crawling around. Can’t remember the month, but thinking it was late summer. Most distinctive were the mirror-like scales running the length of the body.
Lisa Rakestraw

Hubbard's Small Silkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Lisa,
Despite the name Syssphinx hubbardi, the Hubbard’s Small Silkmoth Caterpillar is not a Sphinx in the family Sphingidae, but a Royal Moth in the tribe Ceratocampinae.  BugGuide reports this species from Arizona and New Mexico, though it is also known from California, Nevada and Texas.

Hubbard's Small Silkmoth Caterpillar

Photographed in the Mojave
April 8, 2010
Looking for the name of this beetle and the caterpillar photographed in the Mojave near Joshua Tree NP.
Mojave Desert, Calif.

Juno Buckmoth Caterpillar

Dear John,
Your caterpillar is a Juno Buck Moth Caterpillar, Hemileuca juno, which is described on BugGuide as:  “early instars all black with branched spines arising from tubercles on all segments; final instar densely speckled with white, giving overall grayish appearance, except for reddish tubercles.
”  BugGuide also indicates it is found from  “New Mexico to southern California, south into western Mexico” and the habitat is “desert scrub and mesquite woodlands; adults fly during the day but are also active at night and come to light.”  Finally, “adults fly from September to December larvae from April to June.”  We do not like posts with more than one species, so if you want us to take the time to identify your beetle (yes our research does take time) please resubmit the photo with more information.

April 7, 2010
I’m wondering that kind of caterpillar this is, and what type of moth or butterfly it will turn in to.
I found it in my back yard, in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona.
It’s April (Spring, 85+ degrees today), and the caterpillar is about 1″ long.
I moved it twice so that my dog wouldn’t eat it… and this morning found it hanging from my back door readying itself for cocoon.
Thank you for your help.
Phoenix, AZ

Mourning Cloak Caterpillar

Dear LMK,
Your caterpillar is a Mourning Cloak Caterpillar.  Mourning Cloaks are lovely purplish black butterflies with uneven cream colored borders and blue spots.  They are found throughout North America as well as Eurasia in the northern hemisphere.  In England, the Mourning Cloak is known as the Camberwell Beauty.  As we were doing research for our book, we learned that the Mourning Cloak Caterpillar is known as the Spiny Elm Caterpillar because if is often found feeding on elm tree leaves, though it will also feed on the leaves of willow.  It will not spin a cocoon, but it will form a chrysalis.

Mourning Cloak Caterpillar ready to metamorphose